Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Worship (corporate) (10/04/07)
- TITLE: A Shiloh Morning
By Cheryl Flatt
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As I sat upon the old stone wall the late morning sun beat down upon me. The speaker’s voice slowly faded as the world around me changed. I knew I was no longer in the 21st century, but I really didn’t care. The sights and sounds that surrounded me filled me with such delight and curiosity, but none of them were new or strange. My location hadn’t changed even though the date had. I was still in Shiloh at the Tabernacle. But now it was home; I was in the Promised Land. There was no need to question or worry; all was right.
Suddenly, the Shofar horn was blown. I could see Joshua our leader walking with the High Priest, Eleazar, towards the entrance of the Tabernacle. A slight breeze was making the tent’s curtains move as if the whole place was breathing. The tabernacle…the dwelling place of the Most High God…how I wondered what it was like in there. So much mystery surrounded this hallowed piece of ground and this strange tent. My earliest memories were filled with the cloud of fire during the night that always settled over the center of the Tabernacle and could be seen no matter where we traveled. It was more constant than the moon, and I loved to watch the moon with its many faces and looks. Now that we were settled in Shiloh, the fire still burned upon the inner most place of the Tabernacle, but a part of me missed the traveling and seeing that holy fire light up new surroundings.
The sound of the horn made me realize that I was going to be late if I sat staring at the Tabernacle any longer. It was time to get ready and join the family. It wouldn’t do to be late for the solemn assembly, not today. Our family joined with all those around us: a family, a nation. A hush fell over this incredible multitude of people. It was so still; not a shuffle or baby’s cry sounded, just stillness. Then the sound of Joshua’s voice pierced the quiet as he began to rehearse our people’s history and Jehovah’s lovingkindness to us throughout the generations. Joshua spoke of Jehovah’s great power, of His laws and what He would now expect from us, His chosen people. All of our hearts were united that day as we worshipped the only true God. Young and old, male and female joined their voices and responded both to Joshua and to Jehovah: we would serve the LORD our God. A song of praise broke out somewhere near the front and soon all of us joined in. My own heart was turned to the LORD.
As a bead of sweat began to trickle down my forehead I was pulled back to the present day. The past and present had briefly merged bringing the Bible to life in such an amazing way. The speaker had finished and was walking over to an empty spot on the stone wall. A red haired musician stood and began to play his guitar. I took a deep breath of the hot dusty air and thought through the last several minutes. The very presence of God had once dwelled right here until God’s people repeatedly turned their hearts from Him. Now the presence of God Himself dwells within each one of us. How sad that those people, so many generations ago, could have turned from the Lord after witnessing His incredible work on their behalf for so long. It also made me realize that there is so much more to worship than singing songs, raising our hands and being filled with a temporal emotion. True worship continues long after a song service has ended; it keeps walking and serving everyday and in every way. Worship, without serving, is like a cloud without rain. It will incite one’s heart to turn away, then, before long, God will seem so distant.
As I walked along the dusty trail back towards the road I realized that this former place of worship would forever stay with me. I prayed that my worship would no longer be solely confined to a building or a group of people but that from now on it would truly be done in spirit and in truth.
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